The under-recruited high school quarterback, turned freshman-phenom receiver, turned potential top NFL draft choice who is comparable to Larry Fitzgerald, has the talent and the work ethic to produce a record setting rookie season in the NFL.
There are no receivers at the college level with skills comparable to this gentlemen—and it’s not even close.
Not a burner.
Product of a system.
These are the phrases thrown around by those who believe the hype around Crabtree is undeserving.
Well, Larry Fitzgerald was never considered a burner out of college. In fact his 40 time was slower than the projected time for Crabtree (4.5). The same can be said for Jerry Rice.
Burning defenders off the line seems impressive and is the preferred method for receivers to display their pseudo-skills these days. But the flaw is that straight burners will always be shut down by defenses given time to prepare.
Look at Bob Hayes…not even a member of the Hall of Fame.
Straight speed is not a requirement to be a top-tier receiver in the NFL.
Ball skills, route running, pure strength and those extra intangibles, combine for a receiver that will beat a burner to the Hall of Fame any day.
Crabtree played most of his sophomore season with an injured ankle. He is not injury prone, he was just injured. The injury was re-aggravated numerous times throughout the season due to Crabtree’s refusal to sit games out.
The ability to put up All-American worthy numbers amidst an injury proves toughness. His record setting freshman year, Crabtree had no injuries despite totaling 134 receptions.
Known for his ability to run after the catch, Crabtree leaves himself open to violent hits. He is not a player who will go down easy, so he takes a beating generally reserved for running backs and tight ends.
With a long time to heal between now and the start of NFL training camps, Crabtree will make a full recovery and come back stronger than ever.
A label usually reserved for the quarterback position at Tech—”product of the system”—is now finding its way to the wide receivers.
This year was different in Lubbock, Texas. The ball was spread more evenly throughout the receivers and the running backs, and they even found a semi-capable defense to boot. Their 11-2 record on the season playing quality teams speaks for itself.
Crabtree consistently made big plays in big situations, which elevates him above all talk about being a product of a system.
When breaking down his film, one can visualize him detached from Mike Leach’s pass-happy offense, and that is what makes him different. Sure he does great at Tech, but his skills are so polished, he has the ability to flourish anywhere.
Michael Johnson, the world record holder in the 400m track event, is training Michael Crabtree for his pro day and combine. Crabtree is working out for eight hours everyday at an Olympic facility to build his speed, endurance, and nurse his ankle back to full strength.
One can expect his speed to be greater than predicted and his receiver skills will only improve as he works with former greats like Michael Irvin and Barry Sanders.
Crabtree will be the first receiver drafted this year, it is only a matter of which team will go that route first. My prediction is a long and productive career with either the Seattle Seahawks or the St. Louis Rams.
Although a highly unlikely trip to Foxborough, would be my dream. Good luck to all the DB’s out there, you’re gonna need it!
by Kyle Eggemeyer